DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Poor Filipinos are not happy with the 3.8% inflation rate as the surge of prices of basic commodities in the past months have already put them into indebtedness and worsened poverty, a progressive lawmaker said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced on Tuesday, March 5, that the inflation rate in the country continues to slow down for the month of February, from 4.4% in January. The lower inflation now also falls to the government’s target rate of 2-4 percent.
But Anakpawis Party-list representative Ariel Casilao slammed those who expressed relief over the slower inflation, describing it as “plain and simple callous.”
“This is plain mass deception and mind-conditioning as if prices went down for the concrete or material benefit of poor Filipinos,” the lawmaker said.
He pointed this out as the National Food Authority (NFA) stops selling rice for P27 per kilo which heavily affects the poor.
“At the day the NFA was retailing P27 per kilo of rice, and cheapest commercial rice is at P37 to P38 per kilo, that would be essentially 37% to 40% inflation rate hammering on poor families relying on the support-priced rice,” he said.
Casilao added that oil price hikes in February have triggered transport groups to demand a fare hike. He blamed it to the higher excise taxes caused by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law and the Oil Deregulation Law.
“Filipinos are fed up with these lies and peddling of groundless false hopes, who are learned that when prices of oil products shoot up, so as prices of basic goods and services,” he said.
For one, coconut farmers are clamoring to lower the farm gate prices of copra, which is only at P12 per kilo.
The latest move of the Duterte administration to further liberalize the agriculture sector, according to Casilao, is already triggering “prairie fire-like unrest” in the countryside.
“President Duterte knows that the most marginalized, neglected, oppressed and exploited poor in the countryside, are shaping up as the resistance movement against his anti-people program and policies,” he said. (davaotoday.com)